Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Triple Threat by Jeffrey Deaver

A selection of three gripping short stories from the critically acclaimed master of suspense, Jeffery Deaver. Tales include 'Fast', a Kathryn Dance story which sees the special agent race against time to stop a terrorist group plotting to kill 200 innocent people; 'Game', where a housekeeper must search for her emoloyer's missing body and discovers more than she bargained for; and 'Paradice', a John Pellam story in which John finds himself stuck in a remote Colorado town, accused of murder.

I do enjoy Jeffrey Deaver, although generally I prefer to stick to his Lincoln Rhyme novels. But still, I thought I'd try this book of short stories. And I quite enjoyed them all :) It's definitely an easy read.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sociable Me

Ah, what a fabulous weekend filled with so many friends ... seriously, I have clearly got my sociable side back on! Haha.

I finished up work a little early on Friday, since I'm working from home and worked an extra 2 hours at the office on Thursday before going to the farewell dinner. The Trucker was supposed to finish early as well, but unfortunately one of his trucks carrying wood tipped and his Friday was pretty much done for.

But he did end up getting home around 5 so we asked @clairam what she & @obitadicta were up to and if they wanted to go for drinks. Turned out she was on her way past our house and popped in for a drink. And then after she left we headed to Rusty to meet up with some of The Trucker's friends for dinner. It was freezing but the food was yummy (I had ribs ... ordinarily I would definitely have their pizza but I knew I was having pizza on Saturday already).

On Saturday we had the gardener over. Yay, the bunny hutch got cleaned :D And we headed out to do some truck admin and grab a quick breakfast. We also found out there was a sale on at Outdoor Warehouse so we headed there to see if we could find a mattress for Oppi.

So we've been on the hunt for a new mattress from even before the hunt for the new tent, after ours died on our trip to Namibia. There was much debate over the pros and cons of getting another blow-up mattress vs. getting one off the ground. Obvs off the ground ones allow for the cold air to congregate under your mattress so you are not as warm. But then again, the chance of ever getting a puncture are virtually nil. We also looked at the double volume bow-up ones. But I think we had decided early on that we wanted one on legs. What a mission. They are fairly expensive. R1900 at Outdoor Warehouse and they weren't on sale. But, the up side of making the trip there was that we saved about R400 on 2 camping chairs that we needed to buy too :) Score.

We did some further investigation online, now that we knew exactly what we were looking for in the mattress department. Turns out there seem to be only 2 options: Oztrail and Afritrail. The best news is that when we popped into Pick n Pay on Sunday and decided against doing our grocery shopping there (again ... the queues seem dreadful every time lately, apparently there is a workers strike or go slow or something), we had a look to see if they had anything on offer. And they have the Afritrail queen bed at R400 cheaper! Am off to buy it this afternoon :) And then we're all set for Oppi next weekend. Eep.

When we got home, The Trucker headed off to Beer School. Haha. Yep, apparently there is a 3hr Saturday afternoon class in Emmarentia. I had @louisabouwer and Nicola over for home-made pizzas and a catch up :) What a great afternoon! We ate (it was delish), chatted, laughed, entertained Nicola and watched the bunnies & Gypsy cat play. We finished off the afternoon with some yummy Haagen Dazs ice-cream. So delish. And then, when The Trucker got home, @louisabouwer finally got to meet him - haha, can you believe that yes, there actually still are friends of mine who have yet to meet him.

We decided to go and watch World War Z at the movies in the evening and bumped into @Thunderkitty6 and her hubby, who were going to the same movie and sat in the row behind us. Haha, was great to see them both and their bump who is due in January.

The movie was quite good. Am sorry to say we saw it in 3D tho. The glasses have changed (still just as sexy and as on-size-fits-all which actually means fits no one). They still can't get speedy movement right in 3D, it blurs. And I noticed that there were far to many "up-close blurry things" in the frame ... which I suppose was meant to make it feel more 3D (?). Urgh. I wish they'd give up on this. It is not an advancement. Aside from that tho, the movie was absolutely NOTHING like the book. The only thing they seem to have incorporated from the book was a) Zombies and b) the UN. If you forget it has anything to do with the book, you can probably enjoy it.

Then on Sunday The Trucker headed off to cricket and I went to Doppio to meet up with @nadia_ass and Aaron for breakfast. Man is he a cutey. But it is a weird experience. She went off to have a smoke and left me holding him. He's very quiet. It starts to feel quite weird, this little thing who says nothing. I guess cause I'm now even used to such a noisy cat! Haha.

The rest of our Sunday was relaxed. We tried the McDonald's Texan burger for dinner. Haha, @louisabouwer was asking me about it on Saturday since I always try McD's in foreign countries. Anyway, it doesn't taste or smell like a normal McD's burger and I'd say it was very nice. But very big, I couldn't finish mine.

And that was our awesome weekend. Working from home again today, which is just as well. We both woke instantly in the middle of the night to a banging sound. The wind was howling and it sounded like a window slamming. The Trucker went to investigate. A few times. He couldn't find where the noise was coming from, none of our windows were open. Luckily I went almost straight back to sleep (since I didn't get out of bed), he couldn't after that adrenalin rush. Poor guy.

Today we're deciding on what route to go with our new adsl line (after last week's internet cock-up, thanks Vodacom) and I'm using up the rest of my data-bundle because this week I switch to Cell C and get my new S4 :D

Friday, July 26, 2013


Shew. It's been a pretty good week, I'd say. Had the opportunity to enjoy 3 later than usual mornings because I've had the opportunity to work from home the last 3 days :) Would so rather spend the time in bed snoozing than in traffic! What a pleasure.

Although it wasn't all fun times. Yesterday we ran out of data so I had to head into work in the afternoon anyway. Which came as a huge surprise because The Trucker had put his tablet sim into our router and it auto-adds data ... but at out-of-bundle rates because he is no longer being notified like when it was in his tablet (downside of the router!). So we got a surprise "your bill this month is going to be a whopping 2K". Which is extreme when it is usually R149 (and that's not even 1Gb out-of-bundle). Yes, we are investigating Telkom adsl lines already - haha.

I went to SCM on Tuesday. Which was nice. Felt like ages since I'd been. And I took along a bottle of the Foundation Stone since I found some (cheaper than Mom got it in CT even!) at our local Liquor City. I am really enjoying it and am definitely gonna grab a few more bottles. It doesn't give me the paranoid-can't-sleep reaction I've been having to more than one glass of red wine. Definitely a win :)

On Wednesday evening we did a very yummy Mexican mince with wraps for dinner before The Trucker headed to cricket and then last night I went to Parea for a work farewell with some awesome people. Was a great evening with lots of laughter :)

And that has pretty much been my week. Nothing too exciting, but pleasant none the less.

Oh, and I forgot, the rest of the hospital bill came via Discovery. I was quite impressed at how speedy that was. There is a marked improvement in how much they're covering :) We're up to 73% now I think. The full hospital stay (roughly 11K ! And I didn't even sleep over). But I will have to pay in for the anaesthetist and for the meds I got from their pharmacy before I went home. Shew. I will say it is very entertaining looking at the mass of items that make up that hospital bill 34c here, 91c there ...

Monday, July 22, 2013


Well, the weekend was varied. It didn't start well, but it ended superbly <3

It actually started with a total balls-up. Absolute ages ago, when we went to the March Market on Main Night Market, we first heard about the JHB Culinary & Pasty School's (still a dreadful website imo) Pasta & Wine Friday nights and decided that'd be a great way to spend a Friday evening.

And when I got around to actually investigating it further, fate stepped in and provided us with a City Slicker deal on the class. Yes, please!

So we found some friends who wanted to go as well. And in typical style, everyone was super keen when we were mentioning it initially, but when it came down to actually booking, we ended up with only 1 couple keen to join us. Which actually suited us just fine since they were people we'd met once before, but spent a whole night chatting to who we really liked and had decided to make an effort to make some new couple-friends.

Anyhoo, I bought us the 4-person class on City Slicker and booked for Friday night ... and thought very little more of it. Till Tuesday when I called to confirm with the School. Now let's keep in mind when I was originally trying to get some more information about the class, I'd emailed them. Twice. Because on their website the text says one email address but the mailto is spelt differently.

They never responded. Eventually, I called when we were making the booking after having bought the voucher. When I called again on Tuesday, they'd lost our booking. Apparently ours wasn't the first they'd lost either, they were having issues with their computer. No worries, there was still space in Friday's class and we were booked in as planned.

Till I replied to the confirmation mail that said "You are booked for Friday" but had a subject line of "Friday 20th booking". If you check out your calendar, you'll see Friday was the 19th. I replied to confirm it again. Uh-oh. On Friday morning we found out they'd actually booked us for Saturday evening. Eep.

Mad scramble across email to see if we could all reschedule. Luckily we could. So suddenly we had no plans for Friday night.

Since things had been so weird this week between The Trucker & I, I decided to cook us a nice dinner, complete with candles and even a home made dessert. We didn't get to dessert. We had a fight and I went to bed early and he stayed up watching TV.

In the morning, I was up early again for another trip to Milpark. Due to the fighting, he didn't even budge and I went alone. Anyhoo, the good news is I'm healing just fine and I only have to go back again in 6 months. Which is just as well because even with a 7:15 appointment, I only saw the doc just over an hour later! Sheesh. The only sort-of bad news is that apparently there will still be sensitivity for up to 2 months as it heals internally. I'm hoping to make it a whole day today wearing a normal bra ... I had to whip it off by the afternoon on Saturday & Sunday. Very uncomfortable. Haha.

I got home and eventually The Trucker returned from some errands and we sorted everything out. Thank goodness. I hate when we're not good.

We went and ran some errands and then relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. And then we headed off to make some pasta!

Okay, I will say this, after all the hassle of getting a booking, I didn't really have very high hopes but the evening was fantastic and I'd recommend it to anyone. It was definitely more fun going as a group of 4 (because that's how the tables are structured). And the pasta we made was simple and absolutely delish! Seriously. They made some amazing sauces to go with it while we were focusing on our pasta-making and the meal at the end was superb. Although it's a good thing we took our own wine because their wine only came out after most people had finished eating.

And did I mention what a great venue it actually is (apparently they moved about 2 months ago). It's all glass and lit up wonderfully :) I didn't see their old spot, but the new one looks fabulous.

Seriously we had such a great evening. And we were still sitting and chatting after just about everyone else had left. But we were having such a good time we headed to Chalkboard Cafe for a last drink before heading home. Which turned out to be far later than I expected! A fabulous Saturday evening :)

On Sunday we had a bit of a lazy morning then headed to Doppio for some breakfast, and then to get our grocery shopping out the way. I'd decided that since The Trucker has one of those pasta machines, we should put our left over pasta dough to some good use and try our hand at Ravioli for dinner. Seriously, the pasta on Saturday night was so light I didn't even feel like I'd had pasta, usually I would never have pasta 2 nights in a row!

I made the filling while he napped before cricket. I used a little block of feta, finely cut baby spinach, chorizo cut into quarters and then some of the Woolies tomato and onion mix in a box (it is delish). Popped that in the fridge and when he went to cricket, I headed off to visit @clairam and @samanthaperry for the afternoon. Can you tell I'm feeling more sociable again?

When we were both home, he rolled out the dough and we had a few failed attempts at ravioli making. You really do need a rather large circle to start with (okay, so I suppose we were actually making Agnolotti, since it was half-moon shaped). And the amount of filling you can get in there is far less than you imagine!

But we did it. I think we made about 22 pieces. And then we cooked them. It all went rather quickly which surprised me. The real down-side was that at home there is no one cleaning up after you. Our kitchen still looks like a bag of flour blew up in it - haha, but that is a problem for this afternoon.

We added Woolies Red Pepper pesto as the sauce (I spooned some into the bowl in layers as we served the pasta because I figured it'd be too hard to stir without breaking them open ... they get a lot bigger than you realise). It was absolutely yummy! OMG so so good. And I still don't feel like I've eaten pasta this weekend. I can't believe how much lighter it is when homemade!

Unfortunately The Trucker was still hungry after this (we could've made more, we had more filling and more pasta, I think he was just getting impatient - haha). But it was still such a delish meal, I can definitely see us making pasta at home again! Which comes as a little bit of a surprise to me, I must say.

Oh yes, and I'm sure you can see, this whole fascination Gypsy has with the bunny hutch is pretty much and almost-daily occurrence now. The bunnies are generally less than impressed with it. Mostly she doesn't bother them. Except in the big photo (I know the hutch is very dirty, it needs a clean, but when you've had an operation less than 2 weeks ago, it is not what you feel like doing), she started to swat Rex thru the gap at the top of the box he was in. I removed her. I used to try keeping her out of there altogether, keeping it as "their" space ... but that hasn't really worked out very well :P

Friday, July 19, 2013

Real Life is Hard

Ah well, it's been another not-so-busy week. Which, I guess, is to be expected.

As I said, I decided to stay home on Monday and Tuesday and that turned out to be a the best idea. I tried working a little from home, but the connection to the office network wasn't great. But I think it definitely helped me re-sync my mindset with office-life simply by catching up on emails and other office admin before being back fully in the swing of things.

I tried driving myself for the first time on Monday afternoon. Just a quick trip up to Northgate (probably a mere kilometer & a half). And I went while things were quiet and everyone else was at work. There was a lot of discomfort from the seat belt.

And again after a simple trip to Dischem and to put in some petrol (maybe an extra 4km) I was quite finished.

On Tuesday I tried a little more driving since I had to renew my driver's license (it expires at the end of August). I went at about 11am because the morning rush of people trying to go before work is over. I was in and out an under half an hour (I also got my eye's tested at Northgate the day before). What a pleasure.

And those were my days. I skipped SCM again on Tuesday.

On Wednesday I was back at work for real, out of bed at 5:20am. Now that was a shock to the system. And I didn't last a full day. I sat in my car, already exhausted after the 26km drive. By lunch I was staring at my screen, dazed. I went home and napped. Apparently all the exhaustion is likely from the anaesthetic slowly leaving my system ...

Thursday was much better, I lasted the whole day. But I was tired by the time the evening rolled around and we needed to decide on dinner.

I'm pretty sure by Monday I'll be 100% back to normal. Although to be honest I still have some sensitivity. Mostly when I walk, the right side, where they took out the mammoth, makes itself known. I always kind of feel about "body things" if you are aware of it, it is out of the ordinary, because generally with your body it just exists ... if that makes any sense?

I also did something funny last night (I think I twisted to reach and move my pillow) and the left side was in some serious pain for about 5mins. Definitely a very different sort of very real pain, nothing like I've experienced at all since the surgery. Got me a little nervous, can you pull out your internal stitches accidentally with a stretch? Will have to speak to the doc about this tomor.

What other news this week? The Trucker and I are okay, but taking some strain. I think I struggle with prolonged periods like this where we aren't "close", we can't really cuddle up on the couch or in bed (I can't find a way to lie comfortably up close or against him) or hug properly. He's afraid of hurting me. So I am feeling disconnected and taking all the little things way too personally. Even knowing that, I can't help myself from feeling that way :( So yeah, I can't wait for things to be back to normal already!

We also found out that his friend in Bermuda can't organise our NY accommodation in one of the sister hotels of the one he works for. This is a huge bummer as NY obviously has fairly expensive accommodation and we are there for 5 nights in total. We decided to go the AirBnb route again and have thankfully found what we needed quite easily :) Shew. Still this is getting rather expensive. Too late to turn back now tho.

I guess I'm just feeling particularly sensitive to the expense because I just saw how much of the surgeon's fees (that I had to pay at last Saturday's appointment) my medical aid, Discovery, is covering. A whopping 36%. Yes, that is with the authorisation and all. Medical Aid rates. Pfft. So that's great. I'm now a little terrified of how much this is really gonna end up costing me ... the hospital & anaesthetist and who knows what else apparently make their claim directly to Discovery, which doesn't seem to have happened yet. And the part I had to cover doesn't seem to be closing my Self-Payment Gap either (unless that just hasn't reflected on their system yet ... but I suspect the self-payment gap only works on Medical Aid rates too :/ ). Not the ideal way to start your Friday.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Devil's Bones by Jefferson Bass

A woman's charred body has been found inside a burned car perched atop a hill in Knoxville. Is it accidental death, or murder followed by arson? Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton's quest for answers prompts an experiment straight from Dante's Inferno : In the dark of night, he puts bodies to the torch, researching how fire consumes flesh and bone. In the meantime, Brockton is sent a mysterious package--a set of cremated remains that looks entirely unreal. With the help of a local crematorium, he investigates and discovers a truth too horrifying to believe: A facility in another state has not been disposing of bodies properly, instead scattering them all around the grounds. Little does Brockton know that his research is about to collide with reality--with the force of a lit match meeting spilled gasoline. En route to trial, his nemesis, medical examiner Garland Hamilton, has escaped from custody. What follows is a deadly game of cat and mouse, played for the ultimate stakes: Brockton's own life. With help from his loyal graduate assistant, Miranda, and ace criminalist Art Bohanan, Brockton eventually tracks Hamilton, but when the police arrive, they find only a smoldering ruin. Sifting through the ashes, Brockton finds the incinerated remains of Hamilton . . . or does he? The answer--along with Brockton's ultimate test--comes in a searing moment of truth.

Ah, you know me, after one book taking me sooo long to read, I like something familiar and easy. And a good favourite is The Body Farm Series. I am working my way thru the series in order (excluding the ones I've already read, obvs) and still really enjoying it :)

* This book is part of the Body Farm series: Carved in Bone (2006), Flesh and Bone (2007), The Devil's Bones (2008), Bones of Betrayal (2009), The Bone Thief (2010), The Bone Yard (2011), ~Madonna and Corpse (2012), The Inquisitor's Key (2012)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow

From the New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother, Cory Doctorow, comes Pirate Cinema, a new tale of a brilliant hacker runaway who finds himself standing up to tyranny.

Trent McCauley is sixteen, brilliant, and obsessed with one thing: making movies on his computer by reassembling footage from popular films he downloads from the net. In the dystopian near-future Britain where Trent is growing up, this is more illegal than ever; the punishment for being caught three times is that your entire household’s access to the internet is cut off for a year, with no appeal.

Trent's too clever for that too happen. Except it does, and it nearly destroys his family. Shamed and shattered, Trent runs away to London, where he slowly learns the ways of staying alive on the streets. This brings him in touch with a demimonde of artists and activists who are trying to fight a new bill that will criminalize even more harmless internet creativity, making felons of millions of British citizens at a stroke.

Things look bad. Parliament is in power of a few wealthy media conglomerates. But the powers-that-be haven’t entirely reckoned with the power of a gripping movie to change people’s minds….

So I loved Eastern Standard Tribe (aside from the audio bit) and have been wanting to read more of Cory Doctorow's books. So when I got my Kindle, this was one of the first books I bought (yes, really). Okay, no disrespect to the author, but it has taken me ages to read this. But I still really enjoyed the story and it was quite interesting to think about since most of what we watch is downloaded ...

Monday, July 15, 2013


So right, last week ... everything after Tuesday. And go:

It wasn't very eventful, let me tell you. In fact my only outing till Saturday morning was back to the hospital. I took my twice daily anti-inflammatories. And I took the pain killers 3 times (in anticipation, not because of any real pain). And I'm happy to say I still haven't had any really serious pain. Definite discomfort. Some tingling. A LOT of itchiness (still). But no pain. I was nervous of this as I do vaguely remember the low-grade constant pain that accompanied the day after my wisdom tooth removal. The highlight was spotting a new bird at my feeder, a red-headed finch. It lost it's novelty tho because they seem to have taken over the feeder since. Haha.

Still, it wasn't all sunshine and roses. I wasn't allowed to shower, I wasn't allowed to lift my arms above my shoulders. Getting in and out of TShirts and the surgical bra required assistance. Bathing required assistance (someone had to hold the P-VAC with I attempted to wash with a face cloth & wet-wipes).

Honestly the entirely worst part of this experience, and the only serious pain I've felt, was during the night. I struggled to sleep thru. I would wake 5 or 6 times a night. With the P-VAC in I had to sleep on my back (we strapped it to my stomach using a scarf so it wouldn't wobble around). I NEVER sleep on my back. It is the least comfortable position for me because my lower back arches.

I'd wake with serious pain and stiffness in my lower back. I'd change positions, configure 3 pillows and try sleeping in a sitting position. I'd get a little more sleep and then it was a case of wash-rinse-repeat in the previous position again, always alternating. I don't think we went to bed later than 9pm any night last week (or weekend for that matter). The poor Trucker also woke regularly with my shuffling and popping to the loo and re-designing the bedding umpteen times a night.

It got a little better after my trip to the hospital on Thursday when they took the drains out. Sheesh. See, surgery is definitely a team sport. The Trucker had to pop out from work, come fetch me, head all the way back to Milpark, wait around in the waiting room and then drive me all the way home again. I definitely couldn't have managed the week without him & my Mom <3

Anyhoo, the drain removal. So that was a little nerve-wracking. We'd been told by the doc to not touch the P-VAC (I gather with the other drains you take home ... those one's in the brown suitcases, you have to measure the drained fluid and report back to them). We'd done none of that and this causes a bit of a flurry (I don't see why, the thing was only half full and they could quite easily measure it all themselves, but I guess they want to see it was slowing down or something?)

They left me in the dressing-clinic and went off to check with one of the docs (or so they said, I never really heard back what happened, but they came and removed the drains and changed my dressings after that). That's an interesting process. They have this little kit that has everything they need packed in order. First layer: the big piece of clean paper they lay out on the trolley. Second layer: a red bag they clip to the side of the trolley. Then they open all the dressings up onto the paper, without touching anything but the outer wrapping. Then they wash their hands and Layer three and four are towels for drying each hand. Layer five and six are the gloves. And the last layer is some kind of gauze, I assume they use for cleaning the wound.

I was freaking out, all this preparation while I'm lying on the table. And after all the staring at the wounds previously and discussion around whether or not the drains could come out or not o_O. I held my hands in a fist and closed my eyes. Anticipation really is the worst bit. It turned out to be easy peasy with no real pain ... except the very minor pulling of the dressing off your skin (like and extra sticky plaster). The drains were attached thru their own holes with a single stitch. And I was warned the worst was likely to be stinging as they pulled the drains out (what with it being a fresh wound and all), but it was fine and I had none of that.

I was surprised they made a second incision for the drains tho and asked about that. Apparently they used to just put the drains in the incision they'd already made but apparently having the drain and I presume therefor keeping the wound open, has a higher risk of infection, so they make a smaller incision for the drain and let your original incision heal nicely on it's own. Well that's my understanding of it.

They applied new dressings and gave me some awful news. Probably no showering till the following week. No driving at least till next Tuesday. I'd have to wear the surgical bra for 4-6 weeks and I'd probably be back on Saturday after my post-op for another dressing change. #sigh

They don't warn you about the inconvenience to your life after surgery. I came home feeling quite blue after that (aside from the great relief of no longer carrying around the P-VAC!!). You spend all your time preparing for the surgery, I didn't spend that much time thinking about the recovery. This has definitely changed any thoughts I had about a possible boob-job after I have my kids ... the effort and schlep!

Anyway, bathing went smoother without the P-VAC. Mom made us macaroni & cheese for dinner and shortbread and all sorts of yummy things. On Friday she even drove in Joburg for the first time to go do some shopping.

But the week with her, sitting around, not really doing anything, flew past! And soon we were getting up early again on Saturday morning to take her back to Lanseria and then we raced back to Milpark for my appointment with the doc.

Oh it was a wait, but so so worth it :) My doc gave me a histopathology report which showed actual pictures of the removed fibroadenoma. She was thrilled we got them out! The one turned out to actually be two, with a combined weight of 22g. That was the one we thought was about 3.5cm .... turns out it was 42x32x22mm and the second one was 20x15x5mm.

The biggie was actually a whopping 5cm (50x30x20mm with a mass of 16g). Apparently the one was also showing signs of accelerated growth and that it wasn't going to be stopping anytime soon.

Yay. So glad they're gone :) Also, yes, they make sure they're benign and they were (not that I was at all worried about that). And the really best news was that the doc took off the dressings and told me I could shower that evening! And lift my arms above my shoulders :) And the other good news was that even after removing such big masses from my boobs, they are no misshapen at all. I was nervous about this, although the doc had told me when I first booked the surgery that there shouldn't be any issues because the fibroadenoma were just displacing the normal tissue.

So yeah, to celebrate, The Trucker took me to Salvation Cafe for a much needed (I was starving by this point) breakfast. Yummy :) Oh, and there was that little surprise when I left the doc of hand-over-your-credit-card because in spite of the Authorisation number, apparently I have to claim back my doc's fees for the surgery from Discovery myself. Am still nervous / curious how this whole medical aid thing is going to pan-out and what they end up covering ... since my MSA is long since finished.

I was pretty finished after all this activity so we came home and had a relaxing rest of the day. I realised this weekend that although you lie around and don't do very much, you feel fine. So you think you're fine. Then you try to do just a splash of regular day-to-day life and you're exhausted. It took me till Sunday to learn this lesson properly, on Saturday I just put it down to the unusually early morning.

Anyway, we watched Olympus Has Fallen on Saturday night. Quite good, but *very* American o_O. Hahaha. And star-studded, jees!

On Sunday we had a lazyish morning and went for breakfast at Doppio. An unusually not-great experience. And then we went grocery shopping. And here is when I really learnt the hard way that I just don't have my usual energy levels. I was finished.

Later in the day I had real-life plans tho, thinking that Sunday was far enough away from my surgery (see, no thought to what recovery *actually* involved), I had booked a spot at the first Jozilicious Reader Mixer with @bronwyngale. Luckily she came to pick me up. I haven't driven myself yet since the surgery. And I haven't worn a seat-belt properly yet either ... But showering, showering again is awesome :D

That was fun. But again, I was quite finished by the time I got home. We went to Belle's Patisserie for a High Tea, which I'd never been to before. Okay, so it was fab to catch up with @bronwyngale but the event wasn't quite what I was expecting. There was no one else I knew there, which was a pity. But people also didn't mingled or chat the way I was expecting. Which is fair enough, it was awkward. We did attempt a seating reshuffle, but with our handbags, goodie bags, plates and drinks it was just too much of a mission. Sadly I did not win any of the spot prizes ... had my heart set on the Cube vouchers - haha. Am still dying to go!

What was lovely was meeting Hasmita. She is just as lovely in real life :) And she read my blog post about The Union Bar.

On Sunday afternoon, when I got home, The Trucker & I did our first at-home dressing change. Well, We removed the existing surgical tape and replaced it with new ones. I was nervous. Had asked the doc about how pulling the tape off would affect the stitches, but apparently they're internal. This would be the first time I'd see my actual wounds. Okay so I'm a total wuss at pulling off surgical tape, too nervous it'd hurt. Eventually I let The Trucker do it while I clung to him with my eyes closed. It was fine. A little sore in the moment. But otherwise all fine. And the cuts & drain holes don't look too bad either.

Anyway, I have taken an extra 2 days off work ... well, I figured I'd work half-days from home on Monday & Tuesday, ease myself back into things. Apparently I could be off for up to 2 weeks after my surgery. Work. Would. Kill. Me. Haha.

I'm oddly nervous about going back to work. Definitely about the early (5:30am wake-ups) mornings. A little about the driving (I'll be attempting that later today I think). A little about making it thru the day with the bustle of the office. But as The Trucker said, if I can't manage on my first day, I'll just come home early. No pressure.

I know, I know, another marathon blog post, I'm sorry ...

Friday, July 12, 2013

My First General Anaesthetic

Yeah yeah, 33 and I've never had a general anaesthetic. I told you, medically I'm very boring. No fillings, no broken bones, still have my tonsils & appendix. And quite happy that way, thanks :)

But if you've been reading a while, you'll know I have fibroadenoma in both breasts. I've known about them since I was about 17. I've had them biopsied twice (once when they were first discovered and once a couple of years ago). There is nothing to worry about, they won't turn cancerous or anything. The way I understand it is it's just breast tissue that clumps together ... like it forgets what it's job in the body is or something? Anyway, they change over time and I had two that got quite large. And when they get over 3cm, they like to remove them. I had one that was 3.5cm and another that was 4.5cm. That 4.5cm one was the first one we found all those years ago and these 2 are the ones that have been biopsied too, I supposed because they were so big.

So anyway, queue a Bilateral (both sides) Giant (>3cm) Fibroadenoma Excision (complete removal). I wasn't too nervous, I mean I spose I was a little, not knowing what to expect and all. But it was all pretty fine and smooth. I am super glad to have had Mom here for this week tho, and The Trucker has been fantastic. Surgery is a team sport, let me tell you!

We had an early night on Monday after a home cooked meal (you try finding a Joburg restaurant open on a Monday night, impossible!). Then it was nil-by-mouth after 10pm. The whole house was up at 4:45am on Tuesday morning. 3 showers done and we were out the door, headed all the way to Milpark to get there at 6am. We were a few minutes early and I think I was the 4th admission.

That was pretty easy since I'd filled in all those forms on Thursday already. And off to the ward we went. One of the ladies I'd seen there on Thursday was in the bed opposite me and we were 4 in the room (full) by the time I came back from my surgery.

I was very lucky. I was the 2nd surgery of the morning. My anaesthetist came past again. It's very weird when you know someone and you spoke to them one-on-one only a few days ago who clearly doesn't remember who one earth you are. Thank goodness for all those forms! The same happens with the nurses you spend all day with and then see again when you're back for a dressing change ... they have no idea who you are. I guess they are one person for you to remember and they are seeing tons of different faces every day. Still it's a weird experience.

Anyhoo, into the gaping gown with me and one of those odd shower cap type things. And revolting disposable underwear (in case for any reason you end up needing a catheter during surgery). I dunno who they make these things for but I was drowning in mine! And then you pop a pre-med and the porter arrives to wheel you off.

Again I was very lucky, Mom and The Trucker followed my bed all the way to the theatre waiting room (right outside the operating theatre) and they could stay with me till I went in. I did get a little teary (must've been the nerves) at first as they wheeled me out of the ward and off to the theatre when I was saying goodbye to them. This made it much easier!

I got my drip injected and they came and accidentally drew blood (this was the only surreal part of the experience, appears there were many versions of who was right vs wrong in this story), but since blood drawing doesn't bother me one bit, I wasn't phased.

And then I said goodbye for really-real and they wheeled me right into the theatre. Yes, I was awake. I somehow feel you should never really see the actual theatre ... all a little too close for comfort and that? But there I was, shifting myself off my bed onto the theatre table under three of those giant circle lights.

Here's what I remember: Staring up at those lights and appreciating they weren't as blindingly bright as I would've expected. The weird gel things your ankles lie on. My arm getting very cold. My aneasthetist talking about the pre-med being like the date-rape drug rohypnol (assume because I was surprised I was awake in the theatre and she said most people don't remember it). The pre-med is actually Dormicum. And I remember them putting the mask on my face and taking it off and putting it back on. And that's it. Assume the anaesthetic was in the mask. Very disappointed there was no counting back from 10 :/

I woke up in recovery. I felt like I was waking up from a normal night of sleep (perhaps a perk of such an early morning?). Apparently I was coming to as they wheeled me into recovery (which I gather is standard), rubbing my eyes and asking the time. 9:30am, if you're wondering. Mom & The Trucker had been told my surgery & recovery would be about an hour ... so I gather they were getting a little nervous, but not getting any info on their side. I had to stick around recovery, dozing for about 20 minutes (assume in case anything goes awry) before they wheeled me back to my ward. But while waiting in recovery, I did get to see the fibroadenoma they cut out of me as they came past me in their little specimen jars. Yeah, they looked pretty weird :P

I was a little worried, looking out for The Trucker or Mom, they weren't in my ward, and I had no way to reach them ... but they arrived shortly :)

It was a very long day. I had oxygen for quite a while (apparently this aids healing, everyone in my ward got it on return from surgery). I had a "surgical bra" (basically a very simple sports bra style thing to minimise jiggling) and a P-VAC with 2 drains. I dozed on and off till lunch. And I felt generally fine. Was a little nauseous prior to lunch, but they gave me ice cubes and that sorted it right out (assume cause I was hungry). I seem to have been very lucky and have had no pain worth mentioning.

I had some hospital lunch and then I was fully alert again, and the day really started to drag. Eventually if you're alert and what not, they get you mobile. You can go to the loo yourself (thank goodness, a bed pan is a dreadful device) and get into your pj's if you want (definitely!) and then they make you walk the length of the ward with your drip on a wheely pole.

They monitor your stats regularly (breathing rate, heart rate etc). Before you go walk-about they take the monitors off and then they come round to check manually, first every half hour then every hour.

Mom did a snack run, The Trucker did a juice run. They were very bored too, at least I had a bed :) You have to wait for the doctors to finish their surgeries for the day before they come and do rounds and check up on you.

Shame one poor lady who'd arrived in our ward while I'd been in surgery had also stopped eating at 10pm the night before and I reckon she ended up being the last surgery of the day, somewhere about 15h30 ! She was starving and grumpy.

A doctor I'd never met before came round. Apparently he was the plastic surgeon. He looked at our charts and checked up on us cause Dr Benn was busy. Although she came around shortly after.

I was going home! I could've stayed and had the drains taken out before I left the next morning. But I was itching to go home ... and I didn't want to be on my own there. 2 of the 4 of us in my ward left.

We drove home. Me in the back seat, in my pjs with my drain in The Trucker's hoody (that he let me borrow) pocket.. Not sure yet when I can wear a seatbelt.

We barely had dinner. I'd eaten at about 5pm at the hospital again. I didn't feel guilty, they'd had Salvation Cafe for breakfast while I was in surgery!! We were all in bed by 8pm.

Monday, July 08, 2013


Shew. Friday seems absolute ages ago. Although the weekend itself felt like it flew and I didn't really get up to all that much.

Stayed for an after-work drink then headed home on Friday afternoon. It was icy cold so The Trucker & I hunkered down on the couch with a take-out pizza and some soup to share for dinner. I fell asleep watching tv before 7:30! Paha. Okay so he did wake me again and I managed to stay awake a little later than that in the end.

Saturday morning was fairly relaxed. Right up until I got a message from The Trucker's sister telling me a pipe had burst in the wall at my old place. #sigh ... sadly this has yet to be resolved because I've handed over to the Body Corporate (if it's a cold water pipe they cover it) to get the plumber out to do the inspection, because finger's crossed it is their problem ... But still, so not the way to start a Saturday morning.

The Trucker & I headed to Clearwater for a disappointing Mugg&Bean breakfast, you know I actually don't really like that place for breakfast. It's a very boring menu. And some unsuccessful shopping. I was exhausted and so over it by the time I got home that I had a nap.

I actually started to get a little worried about all this sleepiness. Hopefully it's just winter hibernation.

What did we do for the rest of Saturday ... oh yes, DJMike and his wife came over for dinner. Actually we realised this is the first dinner we've had at our new house :) (we realised because we finally had to clear the clutter off the dining room table - haha). It went well, The Trucker whipped up so Bacon Cabonara which was much lighter than the one before and so delish. We drank gluhwein and caught up, it was good :)

On Sunday I had a nice lazy morning with Gypsy while The Trucker headed off to play an early cricket match. Then I headed off to check out the Collective for breakfast. It's only on monthly and I missed the last one, so I was determined to check it out this time. It's quite small, and I guess the best way to describe it is like the upstairs at Neighbourgoods. There were only 2 stalls offering food and another 2 offering drinks. Still yummy. And the views across Sandton were gorgeous on such a beautiful Winter morning.

I did end up buying some cute little earrings from Millk, and I liked a lot of the jewelery I saw at other stalls, but the clothing really is not my thing. I'll probably take The Trucker back one month tho, just because there are some great furniture spots in the centre as well :) I liked it. I wasn't there long, but that's probably because I was there on my own.

Then The Trucker got home and we headed off to Lanseria to collect Mom :) She'll be staying with us this week while I'm off work recovering from tomorrow's operation. Yay. So nice for her to meet GypsyCat and see the new house :) We spent the afternoon catching up and then had Peanut Butter Ostrich Burgers for dinner. Yum. And Mom brought "The Only Red Wine She Can Drink", The Foundation Stone by Rickety Bridge ... which was delish. Will def try to buy some more of it!

Friday, July 05, 2013

Full of The Happy

Ah. Sunshine and roses and life is good. Life really is good. I was thinking about it last night, well soaking in the warm glow of myself as I reflected and realised there is no where I'd rather be than right here. It wasn't an especially hard road to get here, but it definitely wasn't nearly as good as it is right now and there are definitely bits I wish I could've skipped over or made better decisions for ... but I think we all have to acccept that without those bumps and bad decisions, we may have ended up somewhere else entirely. So it's nice to be able to look back and although not quite appreciate the downs, at very least be able to say thanks for getting me here (mostly) unscathed.

This has been a pretty good week all round :) Monday was a quiet night in after a trip with Rexy back to the vet. No he still has not stopped sneezing ... I think it must be some kind of allergy, poor boy :(

The Trucker threw together some beef stroganoff (sans mushrooms, of course!) for dinner and sago for dessert on top of that! He is a master of picking up a recipe he's never seen before and making it perfectly. Tuesday proved just how opposite we are in that regard.

I attempted a spur-of-the-moment dinner ... and wasn't as successful. I mean it was totally edible, but it was one of those occasions the boy was smart enough to steer well clear of me till cooking was complete. There were many swear words and threats to bin it and pop out for Steers instead. And what was I attempting to make, you ask ... Spinach, feta and tomato chicken roulade. So while I hit the filling spot on, the chicken wouldn't roll out nicely (perhaps because it had been frozen?) and there really wasn't enough to "roll" into the actual roulade. And far too much left over filling. I attempted to bake the chicken in 2 different ways ... because I found so many conflicting recipes. I won't say it was a disaster, but I won't be cooking it again. To be fair I didn't really use a recipe, I just read a few and then winged it. Which really isn't the way I should cook. Leaves far too many opportunities to feel like I have failed.

So yeah, I skipped SCM this week. Because we had so many other eating out plans it felt like a bit much.

We went for dinner with The Trucker's "other parents" (the folks of his friend in Bermuda that we're going to visit) on Wednesday evening at Shalow Waters (can you tell it's a Chinese joint?). I can't honestly work out if they do the spelling mistakes in their menu's on purpose here or not. Anyone for some Chop Sue? Either way  I was too afraid to try their Bacon & Leeches Spring Roll. Either it is using real leeches or it is meant to be litchis and regardless it doesn't sound appetising! I did have their crispy beef which was delish tho :) Yum.

Oh, and on Wednesday I heard from my surgeon's office giving me the details for Tuesday's surgery. I've got to be at the hospital at 6am. 6am ?! That is half an hour earlier than I get to work even! I was feeling a little nervous about things, the unknown and all that. I think the realisation of the pain potential kicked in as well. Apparently I can't drive at all while I have the drains in. Then yesterday I went to go and meet my Anaesthetist.

That has made me feel much better. I went to the ward I'm going to be in, I met the sister / reg nurse who will be there on Tuesday. Although seeing a lady there who was waiting to have her drains taken out did make me feel a little squeamish ... you have to carry around this square leather bag with the drainage container in it. Urgh. Then I started wondering how on earth I would sleep with these things ... sigh.

She apparently had a preventative double mastectomy, like Angelina got all the coverage for. Her chances of getting breast cancer were higher than Angelina's and her kids are 11 and 6. Yep, I definitely think I'd go that route if I were in that situation (and could afford it, obviously ... I don't think medical aids cover elective procedures like that?).

Then last night I managed to keep another Surprise Date Night venue a secret from The Trucker :) I'm definitely getting better at this ... although I can't keep the fact that I had planned a date night a secret yet, maybe we'll get there ;) Haha.

After reading Jozilicious' blog post, I booked us a spot at The Dining Room at The Union Bar. So this is a little pop-up bar and restaurant in Melrose Arch, which means it's only there till 13 July (next Saturday). I love the idea of this!

Okay so I didn't really know what to except, but we got dressed up and headed to Melrose Arch. It took a little while to find the place, because who on earth knows where shop HL63 is ?! But after a little wander we found it. But there is no restaurant to be seen. We sat and had a drink to start. I tried their 50 Shades of Grey Goose cocktail (sublime, and very interesting with the Sweet Wasabi cream on the strawberry) and The Trucker had a Craft Beer (Mitchell's Milk & Honey, I think). I'm not gonna lie, the cocktails are expensive. My little martini glass was R65.

A little later we got shown into a small dining room off the main bar with one big table where everyone sat and ate together. Not my ordinary preference, but it worked quite nicely. Strangely we sat next to someone we recognised from when we'd both worked at The Big Corporate. The evening started with a get to know the table, everyone shared 3 facts about themselves ... 2 that were true and one lie. This was quite entertaining, even tho the rest of the table was one big group of friends.

The evening was hosted well and the food was superb. My favourites from the 6 course meal were by far the savoury macaroons! Savoury Macaroon Taste Journey: 1) Basil infused macaroon topped with Springbok carpaccio, basil aioli and parmesan shards 2) Butternut scented macaroon with creamy gorgonzola cheese and crushed pistachio nuts 3) Black pepper macaroon with curried crocodile,shallot marmalade and fresh baby herbs. OMG These were superb. I also really enjoyed the Fillet dish. Beef Fillet with Cascading Mist: Chargrilled prime beef fillet drizzled with a rich red wine jus served on a bed of leek mashed potato with candied nuts and baby herbs. Oh, and the gnocchi with the lemon zest was yummy too.

The only disappointment of the evening was dessert. The creme brulee hadn't set properly and was just a very runny custard under the thick glaze (although I did absolutely love the little flair of candy floss!). I was amazed at how just about every dish came with some kind of caramelised something or other. The smash cake also wasn't very tasty (the chocolate or the weird boiled sweets inside). But that didn't detract from a lovely dining experience at all and we had a wonderful time there. Very glad we made it in time :)

Monday, July 01, 2013

Not Our Weekend

Whoop. The cough she is almost 100% gone. Yes, this is down to caving and going to see the doc on Friday afternoon. Apparently it's not that I'm getting sick more often because of my daily Allergy-Induced Asthma ... it's because now I know what "normal" feels like. Truth be told I probably would've thought the cough was normal 18months ago.

What the asthma apparently actually means is that when I get sick, even momentarily (like 2 weeks ago), my lungs will take longer to recover ... which is exactly what happened here. I felt absolutely fine. Aside from my chest. And cough mixture is probably fine, if the cough is in your throat, but mine felt like it was in my lungs. Yup. Anyhoo. Super glad I'll be sorted before next week's surgery (and Mom's visit! Yay).

So Friday, after the doc, The Trucker and I went to Mumbai Grill with @jarredcinman. I plugged it as almost as good as Ghazal's but so much closer :) He swears it's the best Baingan Bhartha he's had. And apparently it's the dish he tries everywhere. I tried something new ... the Chicken Badame. It was good, but I'm unlikely to have it again. Ah, I do love my Mahknie.

Was a lovely evening :)

On Saturday we were up fairly early (7:30), expecting the gardener, who didn't show. So we headed out to try a new spot for breakfast, The Whippet. I'd read about it on @Jenty's blog on Friday morning and was super keen to try one of their Whippet breakfasts. What. A. Disappointment :(

Okay, so some of it was probably our fault. We got there later than we should've (they don't take bookings) because I'd popped past the Lancet lab in Olivedale clinic for a fasting cholesterol test. The place was jam-packed and our name was added to a waiting list. We wandered the nearby shops ... the Ceramic Factory was quite nice (which I also read about in @Jenty's post), but that was about the only place of interest we went into. We waited 20-30 minutes for a table and then ended up outside. We thought it'd be okay, but it was chillier than we expected (entirely our own fault).

When our waitress came, I asked about The Whippet breakfast. Apparently they don't serve those on Saturdays, it's too busy. Giant disappointment. Honestly we almost left then. When on earth am I going to have time to go for breakfast in Linden during the week (they're closed on Sundays) ?!

But we pushed past that and I had a truly superb Espresso and Peanut Butter smoothie. I'd probably go back for that as a take-away. We never ended up getting our breakfast ... We were warned it'd be a 15-20minutes wait because it was so full. That's okay, although after our stop at the clinic and the wait for a table, we were pretty hungry. 40 minutes later, our food still hadn't appeared. The Trucker went in and cancelled our order and we left. I doubt we'd go back. They are clearly very popular and the food must be good (if you get it), but I doubt we'd bother going back (unless we happened to be up and ready to go at 7am on a Saturday morning sometime ... unlikely).

Instead we popped across the road to the Argentine Bakery and got some croissants to go.

We went and did some admin after that, but our day was cursed. No breakfast, there was no gas at 3 places we tried and then we popped past an ATM that was out of order and another swallowed The Trucker's card! But, we did get a tent for Oppi :)

After that we decided to give up on the day and head home. Later we went and met some friends at Picolinos for a late lunch. Totally salvaged our day!

When we got home, we decided to watch A Good Day to Die Hard. Yes, I fell asleep in front of the tv again ... didn't feel like I missed out on much tho. Really, the only Die Hard movie I really like is Number 3. I woke up and it wasn't even 8pm #sigh I did manage to stay awake while we finished The Killing Season 1 tho :) Sheesh, this falling asleep on the couch, in front of the tv, cuddled up to The Trucker seems to be becoming Pavlovian!

On Sunday we went to Doppio to redeem our weekend breakfast experience. I tried something new (and delish, I'd have it again!), the Scrambled Divine. We got our grocery shopping done. Well, half of it. Managing to stay true to this weekend's series of disasters, Pick n Pay seemed to be on a go slow and there were queues around almost the entire shop. So we left and popped past Spar later.

The Trucker went to his LMS cricket in the afternoon and then when he got home we booked a few more things for our trip :) Yes, we are going to The Lumineers and Blue Man Group ! Whoop whoop. Struggling to find decent accommodation at an affordable price in San Fran tho :(

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